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Clever bonsai gardeners switch to online selling amid Covid-19

Peach blossom and kumquat gardeners and traders have high expectation for sales as the Tet holiday approaches.

Mrs. Nguyen Thu Huong, a peach blossom and kumquat grower in the northern province of Thai Binh, has met nearly 200 bonsai orders in two days after going online and using Facebook live shopping. 

Mrs. Huong is one of many ornamental tree growers facing huge losses inflicted by the current outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, the third wave hit Vietnam since early last year. Many traders have not offered her the same prices as the previous year due to the low purchasing power.

To avoid losses, she decided to directly sell all the products online. “I have offered diverse packages including kumquat and poinsettia, or kumquat and camellia, to attract customers,” Mrs. Huong said. 

 Local people buy kumquat trees on Quang An flower market before Tet. Photo: Duy Khanh

This year, some kumquat gardeners have made the same decision like Mrs. Huong. After posting their offers on Facebook and forum, they have received many orders, who have the demand for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebration but avoid of physical contacts to shield themselves from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This is a smart way for local growers to respond the impact of Covid-19,” Ms. Vu Thi Hau, Chairwoman of the Vietnam Retailers Association told Hanoitimes. “Selling products including Tet flower and kumquat trees through e-commerce sites, social networks such as Zalo, Facebook helps the consumers save time and buy products quickly, especially it prevents the spread of the coronavirus.” 

Doing business online also reduces operation cost of the seller, which in turn benefits the buyer, she added.

Impacts by Covid-19

The third-wave of Covid-19 in late Januaryhave serevely impacted peach blossom and kumquat growers. Normally, this time of the year is for them to earn big after one year of hard working. "They are facing with falling prices and a loss of customers," according to Mr. Chu Phu My, Director of the Hanoi’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyen Thi Hong, a shop owner at the Me Linh flower market, said that the price of flowers dropped by 50%.

 Peach blossom branches are sold in Hanoi's street. Photo: Hoang Quan

Me Linh flower market is not as bustling as it was in the days prior to Tet holiday as the city has continuously confirmed new Covid-19 cases, Head of the Economic division of Me Linh district Pham Thanh Do said. "The whole district has about 600 hectares of flowers and ornamental plants cultivation in preparation of the Lunar New Year 2021." 

Meanwhile, Mrs. Nguyen Hanh Thuy, a trader in Mau Luong, Ha Dong district, had to reduce 30% of the prices of  flowers, or a loss of VND500 million (US$21,615) in this year’s traditional occasion. For gardeners like Nguyen Van Hai in Quang Ba ward, Tay Ho district, which is famous for cultivating the best peach trees in northern Vietnam, he is facing the same situation as Thuy. However, Mr. Hai hoped the Tet flower market would be bustling in the next few days when Covid-19 is put under control. 

Having the same expectation like Hai, Mrs. Huong from Thai Binh province hoped all the trees will be sold out online on the last days of the Lunar Year. 


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